Back to Top Skip to main content

Need for blood donations constant despite COVID-19

Medical soldiers from the 230th Brigade Support Battalion, 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team, North Carolina National Guard, host a blood drive at Fort Bliss, Texas. The need for donated blood is especially critical during the COVID-19 pandemic. (U.S. Army photo by Lt. Col. Cindi King) Medical soldiers from the 230th Brigade Support Battalion, 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team, North Carolina National Guard, host a blood drive at Fort Bliss, Texas. The need for donated blood is especially critical during the COVID-19 pandemic. (U.S. Army photo by Lt. Col. Cindi King)

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Coronavirus

The Military Health System is calling healthy donors to a vital and crucial task: help maintain the blood supply to meet current and future patient needs. The demand for blood from donations never goes away, even in the midst of a global pandemic. As local and state governments limit or ban public gatherings in response to COVID-19, the risk to the blood supply is top of mind for many in the health care community.

As of March 17, nearly 2,700 blood drives have been canceled across the nation, according to the American Red Cross, resulting in some 86,000 fewer blood donations. The Armed Services Blood Program has also experienced cancellations in blood drives currently scheduled on military installations. While the ASBP is able to meet current demands for blood products this week, “we all know that support can change overnight during this emergency,” said Army Col. Audra L. Taylor, ASBP division chief.

Donated blood products have a limited shelf life, which means continued blood donations are needed to replenish the supply and meet potential demand. Donated platelets have a shelf life of five days and whole blood donations remain viable for 21 or 35 days, explained Taylor, who said that while there may or may not be a huge demand for blood among coronavirus patients today, there are still patients within the Military Health System, such as trauma patients, cancer patients, and sickle cell patients, who need blood products.

“The blood we collected last week will impact people’s lives a week or two from now,” said Army Col. Jason Corley, director of the Army Blood Program. “In addition to meeting the needs of patients within the Military Health System and medical treatment facilities, we still have a responsibility to send necessary blood products to support the combatant commands,” Corley added.

Donating blood is safe and there is no known risk of coronavirus transmission by blood or blood component transfusion, Corley pointed out. “This is consistent with what we have seen in other respiratory illness, like SARS and even with the flu.”

According to Taylor the ASBP, in alignment with other agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration and AABB, has issued and implemented a list of guidelines to ensure the continued safety of the blood collection process in light of current circumstances. Some of those guidelines include:

• All staff participating in blood drives will be screened for general health through a temperature check

• All donors will have their temperatures checked before entering the blood collection area for registration

• Hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes will be readily available for staff and donors to use at collection sites

• Donors will be kept at least 6 feet apart to maintain social-distancing recommendations while donating blood

• All reusable items, such as pens, donor beds, and clipboards, will be disinfected upon use

• Mobile blood centers will limit the number of personnel to maintain social distancing to the greatest extent possible

• Blood drives will limit the number of donors being processed at one time.

“We would encourage donors to [first] do a self-assessment and make sure they are healthy and eligible to donate,” said Corley. “We have put processes in place to keep the blood donation process safe and mitigate any viral transmission. [For example] there are two opportunities for checking a donor’s temperature before donating blood. And the donor is questioned at the time of donation regarding general health and medical conditions.”

Those able to donate blood can visit the ASBP website to find a local blood drive center and learn about upcoming donation drives and open-door hours. The ASBP will continue to monitor blood donor centers and transfusion services daily as it seeks to encourage blood donations across military installations.

“During this time, it is imperative that blood donations continue with the ASBP or any civilian blood collection agency,” said Taylor. “There are so many patients who still need blood products and rely on the generosity of our blood donors.”

You also may be interested in...

Force Health Protection Guidance (Supplement 9) -Department of Defense Guidance for Deployment and Redeployment of Individuals and Units during the Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic

Publication
5/26/2020

This memorandum provides force health protection (FHP) deployment and redeployment guidance for Service members (including Reserve Component (RC) and National Guard members in a title 10 or title 32 duty status) and DoD civilian employees deploying within and outside the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic, consistent with references (a) and (b).

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Guidance for Commanders on Risk-Based Changing of Health Protection Condition Levels During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic

Publication
5/20/2020

This memorandum provides guidance for commanders to consider when making decisions to change health protection condition (HPCON) levels as COVID-19 pandemic conditions on and adjacent to our installations begin to improve.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Resuming Elective Surgical, Invasive, and Dental Procedures in Military Medical and Dental Treatment Facilities

Publication
5/19/2020

This memorandum provides guidance on how each Military Medical Treatment Facility (MTF) and Dental Treatment Facility (DTF) may resume elective medical and dental procedures.

Recommended Content:

Public Health | Coronavirus

Modification and Reissuance of DoD Response to Coronavirus Disease 2019 -Travel Restrictions

Publication
4/20/2020

All DoD Service members will stop movement, both internationally and domestically, while this memorandum is in effect. All DoD civilian personnel, and dependents of DoD Service members and DoD civilian personnel, whose travel is Government-funded will stop movement, both internationally and domestically, while this memorandum is in effect.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Memorandum on Providing Federal Support for Governors' Use of the National Guard to Respond to COVID-19

Publication
4/14/2020

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Benefits Eligibility for 32 USC 502(f) Missions

Publication
4/14/2020

A chart outlining the various Benefits Eligibility for 32 USC 502(f) Missions

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | TRICARE Health Program

Implementation Guidance for Presidential Memorandum, "Providing Federal Support for Governor's Use of the National Guard to Respond to COVID-19 ," Dated April 7, 2020

Publication
4/14/2020

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Delegation of Authority for Reserve Component Activation Authorities during the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Response

Publication
4/10/2020

This delegation assigns to the Service Secretaries the authority to activate Reserve Component personnel and to modify their orders as needed to employ and retain them for the COVID-19 response.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Authorization to Employ Military Medical Capabilities to Treat COVID-19 Patients

Publication
4/8/2020

Effective immediately, the Commander, U.S Northern Command, is authorized, as he deems necessary and appropriate, to employ military medical capabilities under his operational control to treat patients who have contracted coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Decision Memorandum on TRICARE Implementation of the "Families First Coronavirus Response Act"

Publication
4/7/2020

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act, Public Law 116-127, Division F, Section 6006(a), limits TRICARE authority to impose copayment or other cost-sharing for novel coronavirus (COVID-19) testing and related provider visits that result in orders for or administration of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved, cleared, or authorized diagnostic products. In order for the Defense Health Agency (DHA) to implement, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs (ASD(HA)) must acknowledge the self-executing authority of the statute and direct the Director, DHA, or designee, to issue guidance implementing the statutory provisions.

Recommended Content:

TRICARE Health Program | Coronavirus

DoD Guidance on the Use of Cloth Face Coverings

Publication
4/5/2020

Effective immediately, to the extent practical, all individuals on DoD property, installations, and facilities will wear cloth face coverings when they cannot maintain six feet of social distance in public areas or work centers (this does not include in a Service member's or Service family member's personal residence on a military installation).

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Public Health

Policy on Accessions and Accessions Training during the COVID-19 Outbreak

Publication
4/3/2020

The Military Departments must seek ways to maximize accessions in a responsible manner to minimize a reduction in military end strength and the potential deterioration of mid-and long-term readiness and capacity.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Transition of Military Medical Treatment Facilities from Military Departments to the Defense Health Agency during the COVID-19 Response

Publication
4/2/2020

The Department's MTF transition plan is conditions-based. While the transition of MTFs to DHA is continuing, the COVID-19 response requirements are impacting DHA's ability to meet all required conditions. The need for the DHA and MILDEPs to refocus efforts away from the transition to support the COVID-19 response led to questions regarding the future of MTF Transition.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | MHS Transformation

Exemption - Stop Movement for Travel for DoD Components in Response to COVID-19

Publication
4/1/2020

DoD personnel supporting presidential support duties are exempt from the "Stop Movement for Travel" directive

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Tiered Telehealth Health Care Support for COVID-19

Publication
3/31/2020

This memorandum establishes guidance for the use of Telehealth (TH) Information Technology (IT) tools in support of the clinical care required for patients across the spectrum of COVID-19 illness

Recommended Content:

TRICARE Health Program | Public Health | Coronavirus
<< < 1 2 > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 2

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.